Their missions are diverse – from protecting ecosystems to defending children’s rights, from empowering girls to strengthening neighborhoods, from investigative reporting to eliminating abusive financial practices.

MacArthur named 15 organizations in six countries as recipients of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The awards continue the Foundation’s history of building and supporting institutions that address some of the world’s most pressing problems in creative ways.

“From Chicago to Kampala, these extraordinary organizations demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “They provide new ways to address old problems. They generate provocative ideas and they reframe well-worn debates. And their impact is altogether disproportionate to their size.”

The recipients of the 2012 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions follow. The size of the award varies from $350,000 to $2.5 million, depending on the annual budget of each organization.

  • Carnegie Moscow Center Moscow, Russia ($2.5 million) provides impartial analysis of Russian politics and policy;
  • Center for Responsible Lending – Durham, North Carolina ($2 million) protects homeownership and family assets by working to eliminate abusive financial practices and products;
  • Community Investment Corporation – Chicago, Illinois ($2 million) provides assistance to developers of rental housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Chicago;
  • Conservation Strategy Fund – Sebastopol, California ($750,000) trains conservation professionals in economics and policy analysis to strengthen and protect the environment;
  • Crisis Action – London, United Kingdom ($750,000) works to avert conflicts, prevent gross human rights abuses, and ensure that governments fulfill their obligations to protect civilians during times of conflict;
  • Girls’ Power Initiative -- Calabar, Nigeria ($350,000) empowers and educates adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health and human rights;
  • Moscow Helsinki Group -- Moscow, Russia ($750,000) advances the protection of human rights through advocacy, monitoring, analysis, networking, and training;
  • National Juvenile Defender Center – Washington, DC ($750,000) supports juvenile defenders and justice system reform at the national, state and local levels to protect all children;
  • The Moth -- New York, New York ($750,000) is dedicated to the art of storytelling to document our common humanity.

In making these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.

The Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. Organizations will use this large infusion of support to build endowments, develop strategic plans, and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.

MacArthur has a long history of strengthening institutions – from Human Rights Watch, now the largest U.S.-based human rights organization; to the World Resources Institute, the environmental think tank; to Creative Commons, which has changed the way we use and think about copyrights.

MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions